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Marvel shares sink on gloomy outlook
Licenser of comic book characters reports lower profit; says 2006 will be a 'difficult' year.
November 9, 2005: 11:51 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Marvel Enterprises stock sank Wednesday morning after the company reported lower profit for the third quarter and offered a disappointing forecast for 2006.

Shares of Marvel Enterprises (down $3.54 to $14.50, Research) fell about 22 percent.

"Our 2006 outlook reflects a difficult year for both toys and licensing," said Morton Handel, chairman of the comic-book publisher.

Net income for the quarter fell to $23.4 million, or 23 cents a share, from $34.4 million, or 30 cents a share. Total revenue fell to $81.1 million, from $135.2 million.

The company owns the licensing rights to characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-men. It said revenue from agreements to use its characters in video games was strong, offsetting weakness in sales to toy manufacturers.

In addition, Marvel forecast lower 2006 revenues from movies and said it expected no contribution from its Spider-Man merchandising partnership, which brought in more than $20 million in 2005.

Marvel forecast 2006 earnings of 37 cents to 52 cents a share on revenue of $270 million to $300 million. Analysts polled by Thomson/First Call had been expecting $1.13 in earnings per share and $415 million in revenue.

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